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Film review: Run

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 5 1991 12:00 a.m. MST

Every once in awhile a movie comes along with a title that perfectly describes what it is. Such is the case with "Run," a mindless chase picture that boasts lots of well-done stunts but hasn't a brain in its head.

Patrick Dempsey, the young actor of such comedies as "In the Mood" and "Can't Buy Me Love," stars here as a Boston law student — and poker-playing whiz — who is hired to drive a Porsche to Atlantic City.

When he has car trouble along the way, Dempsey stops in an unnamed city and takes in an illegal poker game in an underground casino. There, he tangles with the brutish son of the mobster who owns the joint. When the son is accidentally killed Dempsey finds himself on the run from the mobsters' henchmen, the city's corrupt cops and just about everyone else in town.

What follows is a nightmarish series of foot-chases, car crashes and narrow escapes that take Dempsey through a bowling alley, a hospital, a dog-race track, a shopping mall, etc. And some of the way he receives aid from the one person who wants to help him — a beautiful young woman, of course.

OK, we've seen it all before, but these kinds of movies can still be fun when they employ some cleverness. But "Run" tests audience patience with one dumb twist after another while trying to decide whether to be an outlandish slapstick comedy or a tension-filled thriller. The result is that it fails at both.

For example, there's the slapstick sequence when Dempsey is about to be thrown from a building and saves himself by grabbing hold of the pants of one of his assailants. The pants naturally rip, leaving the would-be killer in his underwear while Dempsey flails about, hanging from the ledge literally by a thread.

Then there's the gruesome moment when Dempsey is in a position to try and help a pair of cops who've been trying to kill him. One of the two seems to be a nice guy and we get hints that he may turn against his partner and help Dempsey. But instead both die a horrible death, after which Dempsey walks away and makes a flippant remark.

So what is this — Harold Lloyd or James Bond?

The movie can't decide and audiences are likely to give up guessing long before either of the above scenes come into play.

"Run" is rated R for violence, profanity and drug use.